skeletons 2445

Skeletons (or calacas) seen during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) often represent the happy afterlife of loved ones who have passed away. The skeletons are whimsical, fun and are usually shown doing normal everyday activities. Here’s how to make a skeleton craft using cotton swabs or white chenille stems—a fun Day of the Dead craft for kids and families.

Supplies

Black construction paper
17 Cotton swabs (or substitute white chenille stems/pipe cleaners)
Scissors
White paper scraps
Colored paper scraps
Pencil
Markers 
White glue or hot glue
Optional: crayons or oil pastels

Directions

  1. For the ribs, cut four cotton swabs in half. 
  2. For the sternum, place one full swab vertically in the top third of the black paper. 
  3. Add the rib cage by arranging four swabs with the puffy sides facing out on each side of the full swab. (see photo)
  4. Cut two swabs in half for the arms, arrange on either side of the top ribs.
  5. Cut five swabs in half for fingers. Cut two of those half swabs shorter than the rest for the thumbs. Arrange at the end of the arms. 
  6. Use two full-length swabs for each leg. Arrange at the bottom of the sternum.
  7. For the feet, cut one swab in half and place one half at the end of each leg. 
  8. For the head, draw a skull shape on a scrap of white paper, draw two black dots for eyes, an upside-down heart for the nose and a curved line with perpendicular lines for the mouth and teeth. (see photo)
  9. Arrange arms, legs, and other parts until you have an arrangement you like. Glue in place with white or hot glue. Allow to dry. 
  10. Create accessories with scrap paper, such as a hat, bow or a flower crown or fancy hat for La Catrina.
  11. Around the edge of the black paper, arrange and glue one-inch squares of colorful paper or draw shapes with oil pastel or crayons. 

Explore More with Kids Books about Día de los Muertos:

  • Day of the Dead by Greg Paprocki
  • La Catrina: Emotions – Emociones by Patty Rodriguez 
  • Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez & Erich Haeger 

Alyssa Navapanich is a nationally recognized art educator who teaches art to elementary school kids in East San Diego County. She is the contributor to San Diego Family Magazine’s award-winning column, “Art with Alyssa.” 

_____________

Smiling Sun Craft

Smiling Sun Craft

Brighten up a spring or summer day with a smiling sun craft made with colorful yarn and glue. This project also makes a festive Cinco de Mayo decoration. Get creative and make your own unique design . . .

Read more

DIY Kiddie Car Wash

DIY Kiddie Car Wash

This fun, do-it-yourself kiddie car wash keeps kids and their ride-on toys cool and clean. Add a spray hose, mild dish detergent and a bubble gun for hours of outdoor playtime. Total cost of materia . . .

Read more

Dads and Grads Badges

Dads and Grads Badges

This June award Dads and Grads with custom badges made from cupcake liners!SuppliesCupcake linersScraps of paper and/or old book pagesCrepe paper or ribbonsAlphabet stickers or stampsScissors (plain . . .

Read more

Father's Day String Art for Dad

Father's Day String Art for Dad

This Father’s Day make Dad a one-of-a-kind decoration for his desk, “man cave” or another special spot! Supplies Corrugated cardboard Roll of twine or thin string Paper brads/fasteners . . .

Read more

Father's Day Plaque

Father's Day Plaque

This Father’s Day tell Dad how much he is loved with handmade placards to display on his desk or dresser. Supplies Small gift box(es)Plastic letter magnetsAlphabet beadsSmall pieces of patterned . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Earth Monoprints

Art with Alyssa: Earth Monoprints

Celebrate Earth Day by doing an art project at home and participating in local Earth Day events around San Diego. Discussion Points for Teachers/Parents How to take care of the planet—Reduce, . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: How to Make a Nature Journal

Art with Alyssa: How to Make a Nature Journal

Creating and maintaining a nature journal is a fun, relaxing and educational activity for children (and adults) that encourages time outdoors and connection with nature. There is no right way to kee . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Egg Carton Flowers

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Egg Carton Flowers

Turning trash into treasure is not only fun, it’s great for the planet. You’ll love this recycled art project that transforms a paper egg carton into a beautiful bouquet of flowers—perfect for . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Nature Weaving

Art with Alyssa: Nature Weaving

Supplies Twigs or sticks, 6–12” long Garden clippers Scissors Twine or yarn Variety of grasses, flowers and plants with long stems. (I used buttercup, euryops, geranium, lavender, rosemar . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Create beautiful outdoor art using homemade paintbrushes from plants and items found in nature.Tips for Teachers/ParentsTeach children to respect living plants and only use found or discarded flower . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Paper Bowl

Art with Alyssa: Recycled Paper Bowl

Not sure what to do with all those old magazines? Get creative and turn the pages into paper bowls or coasters! This is a great project to celebrate Earth Day – or just a fun way to spend a lazy a . . .

Read more

How to Make a Campfire Crown

How to Make a Campfire Crown

Nothing says camping like a gooey s’mores goodness, so it’s only fitting that kings and queens of the campfire wear s’mores-themed crowns. Here are instructions to make campfire crowns for you . . .

Read more

Raindrop Drip Painting

Raindrop Drip Painting

We don’t know many kids who can resist jumping in rain puddles. And since we don’t get rain puddles too often in San Diego, it’s a particularly unique and special activity! Why not commemorate . . .

Read more

DIY Instruments for Kids

DIY Instruments for Kids

Get creative and have a festive backyard parade with these beautiful homemade musical instruments! Local artist Emily Dolton shares step-by-step instructions on how to make a Melon Maraca, Citrus Dr . . .

Read more

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!

Subscribe